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Joe Biden seems ready to extend US troop presence in Afghanistan – Times of India


WASHINGTON: Without coming proper out and saying it, President Joe Biden seems ready to let lapse a May 1 deadline for finishing a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Orderly withdrawals take time, and Biden is operating out of it.
Biden has inched so shut to the deadline that his indecision quantities virtually to a call to delay, at the very least for a quantity of months, a pullout of the remaining 2,500 troops and proceed supporting the Afghan navy on the threat of a Taliban backlash.
Removing all of the troops and their tools in the subsequent three weeks — together with coalition companions who cannot get out on their very own — could be troublesome logistically, as Biden himself steered in late March.
“It’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” he stated. “Just in terms of tactical reasons, it’s hard to get those troops out.” Tellingly, he added, “And if we leave, we’re going to do so in a safe and orderly way.” James Stavidis, a retired Navy admiral who served as NATO‘s prime commander from 2009 to 2013, says it will be unwise at this level to get out rapidly.
“Sometimes not making a decision becomes a decision, which seems the case with the May 1 deadline,” Stavidis stated in an e-mail change Wednesday. “The most prudent course of action feels like a six-month extension and an attempt to get the Taliban truly meeting their promises — essentially permitting a legitimate conditions based’ withdrawal in the fall.”
There are crosscurrents of strain on Biden. On the one hand, he has argued for years, together with throughout his time as vice chairman, when President Barack Obama ordered an enormous buildup of US forces, that Afghanistan is healthier dealt with as a smaller-scale counterterrorism mission. Countering Russia and China has since emerged as the next precedence.
On the opposite hand, present and former navy officers have argued that leaving now, with the Taliban in a place of relative power and the Afghan authorities in a fragile state, would threat shedding what has been gained in 20 years of combating.
“A withdrawal wouldn’t solely go away America extra weak to terrorist threats; it will even have catastrophic results in Afghanistan and the area that might not be in the curiosity of any of the important thing actors, together with the Taliban,” a bipartisan consultants group often called the Afghan Study Group concluded in a February report.
The group, whose co-chair, retired Gen Joseph Dunford, is a former commander of US forces in Afghanistan and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, really useful Biden extend the deadline past May, ideally with some type of settlement by the Taliban.
If the troops keep, Afghanistan will turn into Biden’s struggle. His choices, now and in coming months, might decide the legacy of a 2001 US invasion that was designed as a response to al-Qaida‘s September 11 assaults, for which the extremist group led by Osama bin Laden used Afghanistan as a haven.
Biden stated throughout the 2020 marketing campaign that if elected he may preserve a counterterrorism drive in Afghanistan but in addition would “end the war responsibly” to guarantee US forces by no means have to return. The peace talks that started final fall between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities are seen as the perfect hope, however they’ve produced little to date.
Postponing the US withdrawal carries the chance of the Taliban resuming assaults on US and coalition forces, presumably escalating the struggle. In a February 2020 settlement with the administration of President Donald Trump, the Taliban agreed to halt such assaults and maintain peace talks with the Afghan authorities, in change for a US dedication to an entire withdrawal by May 2021.
When he entered the White House in January, Biden knew of the looming deadline and had time to meet it if he had chosen to achieve this. It grew to become a steep logistical hurdle solely as a result of he delay a call in favour of consulting at size inside his administration and with allies.
Flying hundreds of troops and their tools out of Afghanistan in the subsequent three weeks beneath the potential risk of Taliban resistance isn’t technically unattainable, though it will seem to violate Biden’s promise not to rush.
Biden undertook a evaluate of the February 2020 settlement shortly after taking workplace, and as not too long ago as Tuesday aides stated he was nonetheless considering a method forward in Afghanistan. White House press secretary Jen Psaki careworn that May 1 was a deadline set by the prior administration and {that a} choice was difficult.

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